Prokofiev: Piano Sonatas (complete),

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3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Prokofiev
LABELS: Olympia
WORKS: Piano Sonatas (complete),
PERFORMER: Murray McLachlan (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: OCD 705 ABC Reissue (1989)
Competition is literally very fierce here, with hair-raising moments in the sonata cycles of Ovchinikov, Berman, Glemser and above all Frederic Chiu which the scrupulous Murray McLachlan can’t match. His answer, when the going gets especially tough in the finales of the Fourth and Seventh Sonatas, is to play very safe when a few wrong notes in the cause of excitement might not have gone amiss. McLachlan does have interesting things to say in two andantes, poignantly studied here – the creeping reptile of No. 4, adapted from the composer’s earliest true inspiration, and the Eighth’s dreaming minuet. Otherwise, though, a less than comprehensive realisation of the dynamic detail and quick-change artistry apparent from the first bars of the Second Sonata onward sells these chameleonic works a little too short. Prokofiev’s special brand of glaring light, which should be most extreme in the étude-like passage at the heart of the Ninth Sonata’s slow movement, is a notable casualty. David Nice